Each year, Colorado Mission of Mercy (COMOM) puts on an annual two day dental clinic. These clinics rotate among different cities in the state and usually take place in high schools or event centers. This year, it was time to visit the western slope. So, on October 3, Dr. Albers packed up his camper, closed the office, and set off for Glenwood Springs for the COMOM 2019 Dental Clinic.
COMOM Mission Statement
COMOM’s Mission Statement: COMOM’s mission is to provide quality dental services, at no cost, to individuals of all ages who cannot afford and access dental care; eliminating dental pain, promoting oral health, creating smiles, and providing oral health education.
As noted above, dental care is provided for free on a “no questions asked” basis. Patients are screened and then receive treatment for their most pressing dental problems. Treatments provided include cleanings, fillings, root canals, and extractions. Importantly, patients also receive instruction in how to properly care for their teeth.
Dr. Albers and Staff at COMOM 2019
Given the distance from Colorado Springs to Glenwood Springs and other conflicting events, we had a reduced presence this year compare to past years. Dr. Albers was joined by front desk person Michele, who served as his assistant, and hygienist Lee Ann, who helped in the oral cancer screening room. Carla and Indy also participated, although we’ll provide more information on that a little later. Unfortunately, we forgot to get a group picture, but this one shows Dr. Albers featured in the local dental society newsletter.
To more efficiently treat patients, certain providers focus on one area. Some dentists do screenings all day. Others administer shots so that dentists doing the actual treatment don’t have to wait for patients to get numb. Dr. Albers typically works in the restorative section doing dental fillings. Other sections include pediatrics, oral surgery, and dental appliances, aka Flipperville! This segmentation of care provides the efficiency needed to see hundreds of patients each day.
This year, almost 1,500 adults and children received free dental care at COMOM 2019. Dr. Albers and his staff really enjoy this opportunity to help Coloradans in need.
Go Team Therapy Dogs at COMOM 2019
For the third year in a row, Go Team Therapy, Airport and Crisis Dogs brought smiles to patients and staff alike. This year, Carla and Indy were the only team on Friday, when around 800 patients were seen. On Saturday, though, they were joined by Brinkley (handlers Debbie and Rich), as well as Pepper and Maya (handlers Lori and Steve). There are waiting lines both outside to get in, then once inside, to get into specific areas. Go Team dogs visit people in all these lines, which means a lot of walking for their handlers! While a lot of focus is given to patients, volunteers who watch the dogs interact with patients during the day also enjoy their time with the dogs.
Extra fun this year was an interaction Debbie had with a young man waiting for “teeth.” Turns out he was a student of hers (she’s a retired teacher). She remembers his bad bicycle crash. Over the years, teeth damaged then and other issues caused her student to lose all his teeth. After 5 years of going without, COMOM specialists were there to give him a new lease on life. These clinics impact people in so many ways.